Survey: Majority of builders believe kitchen is key to selling new homes

Printer-friendly versionSend by email

When it comes to selling new homes and feature upgrades, the kitchen remains the heart of the home, according to a survey of Professional Builder readers.

Survey: Majority of builders believe kitchen is key to selling new homes

Survey: Majority of builders believe kitchen is key to selling new homes

April 18, 2011

If there were any doubts about the importance of kitchen design in today’s market, rest assured that the kitchen remains the heart of the home, especially when it comes to selling new homes. Nearly eight out of 10 home builders surveyed by Professional Builder last month agreed that the kitchen is the most vital space in a home when it comes to marketing and selling new homes, while just 12.4 percent of respondents disagreed with the sentiment (Chart 1).

The kitchen is also by far the biggest source of feature-upgrade sales, according to the survey. Nearly 75 percent of respondents said they sell more upgrades in the kitchen than any other space in the home, while about 16 percent said the master bathroom was the biggest source of option sales.

What types of upgrades are builders selling? Cabinets, countertops, and appliances are the most popular upgrades, followed by flooring, islands, and lighting (Chart 2). Best-selling upgrades for bathroom spaces include plumbing fixtures, vanities, flooring, air-jet bathtubs, and faucets/sinks (Chart 3).

And while the average size of new homes in the U.S. continues to shrink (2,377 square feet in 2010, down from 2,521 square feet in ’07), the kitchen for the most part is not being affected, according to the survey. Only 12 percent of builders said they downsized kitchen spaces in their house plans during the past two years, while nearly a quarter said they actually increased the size of their kitchens (Chart 4).

Some builders attribute this trend to the growing popularity of TV cooking shows and culinary arts as a hobby. Said one builder: “The ‘more kitchen’ is a major buzzword as people better educate themselves in culinary arts and cuisine.” Another builder stated: “We’re building more dual-user kitchens. Many couples like to be active in the kitchen at the same time, and space is the top issue.” Of course, this trend can also be linked to the growth of the great room in home plans today, where the kitchen, dining room, and living room meld into one giant space.

When it comes to features and amenities specified most often in the kitchen, garbage disposals, energy-efficiency appliances, and pantry spaces top the list, according to survey respondents. Nearly 70 percent of builders said they specified disposals in all of their homes built during the past two years, while slightly more than half said they installed energy-saving appliances in all their homes (Chart 5).

Other popular features include pantry space (48 percent of builders installed pantries in all homes), granite/quartz countertops (43 percent), low-flow fixtures (42 percent), and food prep areas (33 percent). In the bathroom, dual vanities, water-efficient fixtures, separate tub/shower, and matching accessories are among the features specified most often by builders (Chart 6).


Chart 1. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “The kitchen is the most important space in the home when it comes to marketing and selling our new homes.”

  • Strongly disagree            6.7%           
  • Somewhat disagree            5.7%           
  • Neither agree nor disagree            8.0%           
  • Somewhat agree            38.0%           
  • Strongly agree            41.6%           

Base: 300; Professional Builder, March 2011

Chart 2. What is your single-biggest feature when it comes to selling kitchen upgrades?

  • Cabinets            36.7%           
  • Countertops            26.5%           
  • Appliances            24.8%           
  • Flooring            3.4%           
  • Island            2.0%           
  • Lighting            1.7%           
  • Faucet/Sink            1.0%           
  • Breakfast bar            0.3%           
  • Other            3.4%           

Base: 294; Professional Builder, March 2011

Chart 3. What is your single-biggest feature when it comes to selling bathroom upgrades?

  • Plumbing fixtures (i.e., toilet, showerhead)            33.7%           
  • Separate tub/shower            17.2%           
  • Vanities            12.1%           
  • Flooring            10.8%           
  • Whirlpool/air-jet bathtub            8.8%
  • Faucet/sink            5.4%           
  • Lighting            1.7%           
  • Other            10.3%           

Base: 297; Professional Builder, March 2011

Chart 4. In general, across all the house plans your company offers, has the size of your kitchens changed in the past two years?

  • No            64.1%           
  • Yes, we’ve downsized our kitchens            12.4%           
  • Yes, we’ve up-sized our kitchens            23.5%           

Base: 298; Professional Builder, March 2011

Chart 5. Approximately how many of the houses built, designed, or engineered by your company during the past 24 months include the following kitchen features?

All            Most            Some            None

  • Garbage disposal            69.3%            17.4%            9.2%            4.1%
  • Energy-efficient/Energy Star appliances            52.1%            33.0%            13.2%            1.7%
  • Pantry            48.6%            28.9%            18.4%            4.1%
  • Granite/quartz countertops            43.2%            28.7%            22.6%            5.4%
  • Low-flow fixtures/faucets            42.5%            25.8%            24.4%            7.3%
  • Food prep area                        33.2%            28.4%            26.6%            11.8%
  • Island            32.5%            39.0%            20.3%            8.1%
  • Trash/recycling pull-out drawer            26.3%            22.2%            33.2%            18.3%
  • Fireplace/hearth            26.1%            18.8%            29.3%            25.8%
  • Wall oven            25.5%            29.3%            31.4%            13.8%
  • 42-inch/extended-height cabinets            24.7%            24.3%            31.3%            19.7%
  • Breakfast nook            23.4%            22.0%            37.3%            17.4%           
  • Pull-out racks            22.8%            38.4%            26.0%            12.8%
  • Lazy Susan            22.2%            35.1%            23.3%            19.4%
  • Breakfast bar            21.3%            30.8%            33.9%            14.0%
  • Dual sinks            17.3%            19.4%            34.3%            29.0%
  • Professional- or designer-grade range hood            14.1%            23.8%            41.4%            20.7%
  • Kitchen office/computer nook            10.6%            23.0%            42.1%            24.4%
  • Professional-grade oven/cooktop combination            9.5%            21.5%            45.1%            23.9%
  • Wine storage area            6.6%            22.2%            46.7%            24.6%
  • Warming drawer            6.4%            16.0%            36.5%            41.1%
  • Trash compactors            5.0%            6.4%            32.5%            56.1%
  • Radiant heated floors            4.7%            7.6%            34.5%            53.2%
  • Separate faucet for pot filling            4.7%            7.9%            39.6%            47.8%
  • Outdoor kitchen            4.6%            6.4%            29.8%            59.2%
  • Specialty drawer refrigerators                        4.6%            12.0%            35.6%            47.9%
  • Induction cooktop            4.0%            7.6%            35.9%            52.5%           
  • Dual islands            2.0%            1.2%            21.5%            75.4%           
  • Built-in composting bin            1.5%            2.2%            12.3%            84.1%

Base: 295; Professional Builder, March 2011

Chart 6. Approximately how many of the houses built, designed, or engineered by your company during the past 24 months include the following bathroom features?

All            Most            Some            None

  • Dual vanities/lavatories in master bath            46.9%            31.3%            18.4%            3.4%
  • Water-saving fixtures            45.3%            26.6%            21.1%            6.9%
  • Separate tub/shower in master bath            45.1%            30.4%            18.8%            5.8%
  • Accessories that match faucets and fixtures            40.3%            30.2%            22.6%            6.9%
  • Decorative tiles            33.2%            32.2%            26.6%            8.0%
  • Granite/quartz vanity top            29.2%            32.2%            28.8%            9.8%
  • Additional storage areas            19.2%            32.5%            37.8%            10.5%
  • Whirlpool/air-jet bathtub            18.9%            24.4%            38.8%            17.9%
  • Multiple-head shower system            12.1%            23.8%            41.4%            22.8%
  • Solid-surface vanity top            11.6%            26.0%            38.3%            24.2%
  • Dressing area            11.5%            19.6%            45.1%            23.8%
  • Specialty glass for windows            11.3%            21.1%            34.5%            33.1%
  • TV or video player            10.1%            11.9%            35.3%            42.7%
  • Dual vanities/lavatories in secondary bath            9.0%            18.4%            39.0%            33.8%
  • Audio system            8.7%            11.9%            44.4%            35.0%
  • Separate tub/shower in secondary bath            7.0%            12.5%            33.1%            47.4%
  • Universal design features like curbless shower            5.3%            9.5%            42.5%            42.8%
  • Electronic or water-based radiant heating and cooling            4.6%            9.1%            30.5%            55.8%
  • Laminate vanity top            2.9%            9.3%            26.7%            61.2%
  • Sauna/steam features in shower            1.8%            3.6%            37.9%            56.7%
  • Bidet features            1.4%            4.0%            27.3%            67.3%
  • Separate his/her toilets            0.7%            5.2%            22.9%            71.2%
  • Towel warmers            0.7%            3.9%            27.1%            68.3%
  • Heated, fog-resistant mirrors                        0.4%            1.8%            19.4%            78.5%

Base: 295; Professional Builder, March 2011

Chart 7. What types of countertop surfaces do you offer as standard and as an upgrade?

Standard            Upgrade            Both

  • Laminate            78.0%            3.7%            18.3%
  • Granite                        30.6%            46.8%            22.5%
  • Solid surface            27.1%            48.1%            24.8%
  • Marble            24.4%            54.4%            21.2%
  • Quartz            17.5%            62.1%            20.4%
  • Butcher block            13.9%            64.6%            21.5%
  • Concrete            11.5%            66.9%            21.7%

Base: 300; Professional Builder, March 2011

Chart 8. In which areas of your homes do you sell the most upgrades?

  • Kitchen            74.6%           
  • Master bath            15.5%           
  • Other            9.9%           

Base: 291; Professional Builder, March 2011

Chart 9. What type of cabinet finish is most often specified by your buyers?

  • Medium natural            40.1%           
  • Dark natural            19.2%           
  • Light natural            13.5%           
  • Glazed            10.8%           
  • White painted            9.4%           
  • Distressed finish            2.0%           
  • Other            5.1%           

Base: 297; Professional Builder, March 2011

Chart 10. What is the most popular faucet/fixture finish among your home buyers?

  • Brushed nickel            55.0%           
  • Stainless steel            17.3%           
  • Oil-rubbed bronze            14.7%           
  • Chrome            12.4%           
  • Bronze            0.3%           
  • Copper            0.3%           
  • Brass            0.0%           

Base: 300; Professional Builder, March 2011

Chart 11. When it comes to faucet selection, which style is most popular among your home buyers?

  • Transitional (traditional/contemporary hybrid)            50.2%           
  • Traditional            29.8%           
  • Contemporary            16.7%           
  • Ultra modern            3.3%           

Base: 299; Professional Builder, March 2011

Chart 12. Please indicate your firm’s primary business.

  • Builder                        48.49%           
  • Remodeler            24.2%           
  • Architecture – Design            15.8%           
  • Kitchen and Bath Design            2.6%           
  • Developer            2.9%           
  • Supplier            0.3%           
  • Other            5.8%           

Base: 310; Professional Builder, March 2011

Chart 13. In which of the following regions does your company build homes?

  • New England (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT)            6.2%           
  • Middle Atlantic (NJ, NY, PA)            11.9%           
  • East North Central (IL, IN, MI, OH, WI)            18.1%           
  • West North Central (IA, KS, MN, MO, NB, ND, SD)            5.4%           
  • South Atlantic (DE, DC, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, VA, WV)            23.8%           
  • East South Central (AL, KY, MS, TN)            4.5%           
  • West South Central (AR, LA, OK, TX)            12.2%           
  • Mountain (AZ, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, UT, WY)            7.7%           
  • Pacific (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA)            10.2%           

Base: 353; Professional Builder, March 2011

Chart 14. How many homes did your company have a hand in building in 2010?

  • 1-5 homes            47.9%           
  • 5-10 homes            11.4%           
  • 10-15 homes            5.9%           
  • 15-25 homes            4.6%           
  • 25-50 homes            4.6%           
  • More than 50 homes            7.8%           
  • We do not build homes            17.9%           

Base: 307; Professional Builder, March 2011

Comments on: "Survey: Majority of builders believe kitchen is key to selling new homes"

December 2016

This Month in Professional Builder

Products
Features

Masters of a challenging niche, LGI turns renters into owners by building homes within reach for entry-level buyers.

Overlay Init